Crime

Multiple police, deputies shoot suspect in Snelling following lengthy car chase

A man was shot by law enforcement Thursday, March 9, 2017, in Merced County, following a long vehicle chase that began in Turlock and ended an more than an hour later in Snelling. The driver of the vehicle opened fire on six law enforcement officials, who returned fire, striking him multiple times. He was flown to a Modesto hospital in critical condition. No law enforcement officials were injured.
A man was shot by law enforcement Thursday, March 9, 2017, in Merced County, following a long vehicle chase that began in Turlock and ended an more than an hour later in Snelling. The driver of the vehicle opened fire on six law enforcement officials, who returned fire, striking him multiple times. He was flown to a Modesto hospital in critical condition. No law enforcement officials were injured. akuhn@mercedsun-star.com

A lengthy police chase ended late Thursday in Snelling when six law enforcement officers shot the driver after he opened fire on them, the Merced County sheriff confirmed.

The name of the suspect was not released; authorities said early Friday he is expected to recover.

Turlock police attempted to serve a search warrant around 7:45 p.m. near the intersection of Quincy Road and Hawkeye Avenue in Turlock, Sgt. Steve Rodrigues said in a news release.

Rodrigues said when officers got to the intersection, they spotted “a person of interest who was associated with the search warrant leaving in a vehicle.” The driver of the vehicle sped away when police tried to stop his car.

The driver led authorities on a chase into Merced County, through the city of Merced and into Snelling.

“He was driving through red lights, running stop signs — it was dangerous,” Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said.

Warnke said the chase ended on Snelling Road, about a quarter of a mile from Highway 59 in Snelling when the suspect drove over a spike strip.

“He got out of the car and fired multiple shots from an assault-style rifle at the deputies,” Warnke said. “They returned fire and he was struck multiple times.”

The shooting occurred about 9:20 p.m., Warnke said. No law enforcement officials were injured.

Warnke said the suspect, described only as an adult male, was flown to a Modesto hospital in “very critical condition.”

He is expected to recover from his injuries, Rodrigues said.

Turlock police did not comment on nature of the investigation that led to the search .

Warnke said six law enforcement officials returned fire — three from the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, two from the Merced Police Department and one from the Turlock Police Department.

A Merced County sheriff’s patrol car was struck “at least twice” by the suspect’s gunfire, according to Warnke.

Warnke said, due to the number of officers involved in the incident from multiple agencies, the California Justice Department will take the lead in the officers-involved shooting investigation.

The area around Snelling Road was expected to remain closed off by law enforcement for well into Friday morning, authorities said.

“No additional information is available at this time as we continue with this active investigation,” Rodrigues said in the statement. “We will provide an update when additional information becomes available.”

Rob Parsons: 209-385-2482

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